APPOINTMENT OF NEW, RUTHLESS POLICE CHIEF, WILL NOT CRUSH IRAN’S PROTESTERS
Dreading the downfall of his theocratic regime, Iran’s Supreme Leader – Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has pressed the panic button. He has appointed the notorious criminal hardliner, Ahmadreza Radan, as Chief of Police, or head of the regime’s Law Enforcement Command (FARAJA in Farsi) uniformed police force. Radan forged his career in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Basij paramilitary force, which is the mullahs’ Gestapo. His ruthlessness and steadfast dedication to the Supreme Leader saw him rise rapidly through the ranks during the Iran-Iraq war. By 1984, at the age of only 21, he had been promoted to second Brigadier General, transferring to the regime’s State Security Force (SSF) as commander of one of the districts in Tehran, when the war ended.
Following a number of regional appointments where Radan honed his skills as a cold-blooded thug and torturer, he finally rose to command the SSF in Greater Tehran in 2006, overseeing the introduction of more than 400 women into the force’s 60,000 uniformed personnel, as part of the Guidance Patrol or so-called ‘morality police’. Established with the task of arresting women who violated the strict Islamic dress code imposed by the mullahs, Radan encouraged the morality police to crackdown on women who failed to cover their hair properly with their hijabs or boys who sported non-Islamic haircuts. In an interview at the time, he threatened to arrest and punish boys with “perverted hairstyles”. “These boys will be taken to the police stations, their families will be summoned, and after making a pledge to make their sons behave, the families take their children to a barbershop to get a regular haircut,” he said.
Following an uprising in 2009, Radan led the crackdown on the protests and the torture of those arrested in Kahrizak prison, where several protesters died under torture. A radio communication between Radan and his forces, obtained and published by the Iranian Resistance in 2009, further confirmed his role in the bloody crackdown on peaceful protesters. “Crush those bastards ruthlessly and proceed to take them all out. Quash them and then take the remaining to Kahrizak prison to give them what they deserve,” he said in the recorded despatch. His track-record of cruelty and brutality led to Radan’s designation by the US State department as a person responsible for “ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing, the commission of serious human rights abuses against citizens of Iran or their family members.”
Clearly, Khamenei believes that Radan’s appointment will put an end to the nationwide uprising now entering its fifth month. Tens of thousands of mostly young protesters have taken to the streets of towns and cities across Iran day after day, since the murder of the 24-year-old Kurdish girl Mahsa Amini by the morality police, last September. The vicious suppression of the insurrection has seen over 750 killed and more than 30,000 arrested, but the protesters have lost their fear of the oppressors and are resolute in their objective to overthrow the regime. They are uniting behind the leadership of the People’s Mojahedin of Iran/Mojahedin-e Khalq (PMOI/MEK) and their burgeoning Resistance Units, knowing full well that the regime will not desist from its murderous course on its own will. Unarmed young men and women are daily being beaten with iron bars, sprayed with tear gas, maimed with birdshot and killed by gunfire, but still, they continue to protest.
Teetering on the brink of total downfall, Khamenei thought that the sham election of the murderer Ebrahim Raisi – dubbed ‘The Butcher of Tehran’ for his key role in the 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners – would quieten dissent. It had the opposite effect. Indeed, it was Raisi’s order to the morality police to clamp down hard on women who were not covering their hair properly, that led to the arrest of Mahsa Amini and the subsequent uprising following her death in custody. Ahmadreza Radan’s appointment as Police Chief will backfire too. His notoriety for harassing Iranian women and young people, two of the major driving forces in the insurrection, will further inflame the demonstrators, whose chants of “Death to Khamenei”, “We don’t want either the Shah, or the Sheikh” and “Death to the oppressor, be it the Shah or the leader (Khamenei)”, now echo around the streets.
With the hanging of four young protesters who were denied legal representation and tortured into making false confessions, the population is enraged and the insurrection is increasingly morphing into a full-scale rebellion. The 1979 revolution against the Shah started in January 1978 with the first bloody crackdown of demonstrations, and lasted for 13 months, culminating in the flight of the Shah and the overthrow of his regime. In his last months in power, the Shah rapidly replaced his ministers, tried curfews and martial laws, and opened fire on protesters, but he couldn’t postpone his regime’s downfall. This current revolution, after over four decades of organized resistance, is now in its fifth month, with protesters, undaunted by the level of repression, calling for the overthrow of the theocratic, fascist regime. Like the Shah, Khamenei has tried curfews, shoot-to-kill assaults, mass arrests, torture, executions, internet jams, cyberwar and even the re-shuffling of ministers. His panic appointment of Ahmadreza Radan as his new Police Chief will make no difference. The Iranian people and their organized resistance movement have reached the tipping point. They will not stop until they have toppled Khamenei and his tyrannical dictatorship in the same way they toppled the Shah.